Need for Speed: Shift Review

By on September 17, 2009

Bringing the series back to life.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Based on the history of the series, some of the current generation of gamers most likely cannot recall the last time they played a good NFS game, let alone a decent one. Need for Speed was the racing game to buy back in the days, grabbing gamers’ attention on the PC and Playstation for a while. Before games like Forza, GT and Project Gotham, the first couple of NFS games captured the imagination of racing fanatics worldwide. After a while though, and with a sequel nearly every year, the series took a back seat to other big names in the genre. GT became the series to beat on the Playstation, with Forza and PGR taking turns impressing on the Xbox. NFS Shift comes with a new developer, format and direction compared to recent releases in the series. Is all of that a change to the better though?

NFSS1_rev

The game starts off really well. The menus look impressive with a simple big font directing you around the game. Shift will first test your driving skills in a quick lap to see what difficulty and settings best suits you. After that, the mode you will most likely fire up first is the career mode. The game sets you up very well with videos introducing the mode, cars you can obtain first and so on. Suddenly, the game will “shift” you to a less impressive menu made especially for the career mode. You no longer have the simple menu to navigate; instead you will have a scroll chick-list like menu showing you what races and events you can join and so on.

The events you can choose from are of a large variety. You will start up with some basic races, eliminations and hot laps a little later and eventually you will compete in endurance races and series events.  Depending on how well you do in a race you will be awarded with performance stars that later unlock more events and tiers for you to participate in.  The stars here are actually what make the game a bit challenging. You will not just get stars for finishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd but also for meeting specific goals in each race. Completing a clean lap can earn you a star for example, or beating a lap time can do that for you as well. Another type of challenges has you collecting a certain number of style points in each race.

NFSS2_rev

Those points are awarded based on what you do in a race. In NFS Shift you can be a good driver or an evil sneaky driver. The good driver will go on winning races by taking over opponents cleanly and without touching them, while the evil driver will do anything to get by the competition. Points will be awarded to both drivers in this game. Everything from a clean over take to trading paint with your rivals will give you points. Those points will help you level up along the career mode, setting you up with a chance to gain more money, sponsorships and equipments.

Gamers playing some of the better racing games in the last year or two complained about one little thing: Poverty. You rarely got the chance to drive the best cars in a racing game after a day or two of playing it, let alone in a realistic simulator. In Shift that is not an issue. Based on how much you will be earning, your garage will be considered chick magnet material within a day or two.  That might disappoint the gamers seeking a realistic and challenging experience. After all, games like GT had you driving a Honda from the 70’s for a while before bringing the hot stuff to the table. Gamers not taking this too seriously however will enjoy the number of choices they will have quickly.

NFSS3_rev

You will not just be unlocking cars and gaining money fast, you will also be unlocking events and tiers quickly too. Before we even finished the 1st tier we had events in the 3rd tier waiting for us, with a few invitational events too.  Two things that will keep you busy in this game though are collecting all the stars and reaching level 50 as a driver.

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The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
8.8
The controls help make this a memorable game gameplay wise.
GRAPHICS
9
A great all around job.
SOUND
10
The sound effects are just remarkable.
VALUE
8.5
Career mode will take some time to be 100% complete, online mode is worth your time too.
FUN FACTOR
9
Finally a good NFS game, we had to see it to believe it!
OVERALL
9.1
A great experience and a driving game for all kind of gamers to enjoy. NFS...welcome back!

About

I love my Sports games. Throw me on an Island with the newest FIFA, Football Manager and NBA 2K and i will live forever. Follow me on Twitter (@RabieA11) for updates or on the PSN and XBL (Rabie1).

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